Election Day is only eight weeks away and that timeline has some folks voicing concerns about voting practices in Duval County.
Picketers organized by Rev. R. L. Gundy, gathered outside the Supervisor of Elections office this week demanding options for casting their ballots this year.
Under the banner of “All Voting,” the local group are focusing on the Supervisor of Elections (SOE) office mail in voting awareness tactics in Duval County. Pastor Gundy led the opening charge in a call for change such as mailing information – not just posting online – how to request vote-by-mail ballots.
Gundy says there is also a need to expand early voting locations at area colleges and move a polling place near Legends Center away from a state-run COVID-19 testing site. He said if demands are note met. it could be a matter for the courts like in 2004 when the Jacksonville Coalition for Voter protection sued to expand early voting. He also said the activists have tried to meet with Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan to demand changes for two years but that he has been unwilling to meet with them as a group.
“We shouldn’t have had to go to federal court to demand the right to have early voting in this country but we had to go through that,” Gundy said. “So if we have to go back to court again that’s what we’re going to do”
“Never forget, it was this office that threw 27,000 votes into the garbage not because they were late, they refused to count them from the Black precincts. those votes cost Al Gore the presidency of the US in 2000. Twenty years later, this office refused to comply with all laws, and has been intentional in delaying mail outs and Duval did not have early voting. We had to file a federal lawsuit to get early voting in Duval County,” Gundy released in a statement.
According to the Florida Times Union, Hogan said in an email that the office does not plan to use UNF or EWC as early-voting sites this year, saying only 12 percent of votes cast at the EWC site in 2018 were from voters 18 – 22. He said the two sites are not ideal locations to provide all voters an equal opportunity to cast ballots. Instead, the office is planning to use the Prime Osborn Convention Center and the Florida State College at Jacksonville Deerwood Center.
Hogan said there will be drop boxes at every early voting site.
Shown L-R protesting in front of the Supervisor of Elections office: Divo Almestica, Maceo George (President Duval Democratic Black Caucus) , April Nubian (Northside Coaliton of Jax), Pastor Reginald Gundy, activist Carnel Oliver and Wells Todd.